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Shoulder / Rotator Cuff Problems Message Board
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:42 AM   #1
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May 6 Shoulder Replacement Surgery

I've been a somewhat regular poster on the Back Message Board, having had 4 back surgeries, but this one is new to me. My surgeon only does shoulders, arms, and hands, so I'm confident in him.

My last back surgery was 2 1/2 years ago, lasted 12 hrs as opposed to the 5 - 6 as predicted. I was mostly unaware of my week in the hospital, and then spent 3 weeks in rehab.

Now, my question to the surgeon was this: How does the shoulder surgery compare to back surgery? He said, "Not even in the same ball park." Anybody have any personal experience along those lines. Oh, and I'm 72, in good health other than my joints, and my daughter lives with me, but goes to work every day. He says I'll be able to do for myself.
Opinions?

One more question: I read somewhere that I should wear button up blouses to accommodate the sling. Correct? If so, I need to go to a thrift store, I guess.

 
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:49 AM   #2
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Re: May 6 Shoulder Replacement Surgery

I have not had back surgery so won't comment on comparison, but have had 6 shoulder surgeries, including 3 replacement procedures on the right shoulder (hemi, total and reverse within 2 years). The first week is rough, although more for some than others. The button/zip tops are not so much to accommodate the sling as to allow you to get dressed easier. You will not be pulling anything over your head for quite a while, and will need to get either button or zippered tops. Some people get a big shirt to go home in, where you can put it over the sling, but on the whole, you will be wearing your top with your arm through the sleeve, and then the arm in the sling.

Also shoulder surgery can be rough on sleep comfort. Although I was OK after my total replacement, I had to sleep in a recliner after the hemi for about a month, and it's been almost 8 weeks for the reverse, and I am still sleeping in the recliner.

Replacements aren't as restrictive in recovery as, say, rotator cuff or slap tear repairs. As long as you are comfortable using one arm doing personal business, you should be OK.

On the whole, though, shoulder surgeries are a whole different thing than any other kind of surgery. Takes forever to recover full range of motion. Can be very painful - don't hesitate to take your pain meds.

Good luck!

 
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:46 PM   #3
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Re: May 6 Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Galalena, thanks so much for your helpful reply. I was kinda confused about the sling/button up or zip top. Now I'm also wondering about pulling pants up with only one hand. As it is, right now it's difficult, so I can't think about just using one.

At least this is not my dominant side, so that's a plus.

I also have a torn rotator cuff to be repaired and several osteophytes to be removed. This is a question I should have asked the surgeon, but I didn't think of it. Will the rotator cuff tear be taken care of with the replacement? I'm fairly knowledgeable with the back anatomy, but the shoulder bit is all new to me.

If there's anything else you can think of that would be helpful, please let me know, and thanks again.

 
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:34 PM   #4
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Re: May 6 Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Really? I take back some of what I said then. A cuff repair makes it much more restrictive then. While a person starts pt early with a replacement, therapy is usually delayed and you are immobilized for 6 weeks with a cuff repair. Of course, i dont know how extensive your cuff repair will be. The cuff has to be in very good condition for a replacement to be successful. Not many people have both done at once from what I have seen. That was the plan when I had my conventional replacement, but it turned out the cuff was still attached. But, it failed after the surgery' which is why I had to get the reverse.

As for your slacks, sweatpants are the answer. You are lucky it is your nondominant arm. Mine was my dominant right shoulder. Due to all the surgeries, all my muscles that are left are atrophied, and I have problems with overuse on the left, tingling, numbness' etc.

 
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:07 PM   #5
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Re: May 6 Shoulder Replacement Surgery

It seems that is a question that should have been addressed, then. (rotator cuff). The MRI said it was a complete tear, but it was only 1.7 cm. It must not be a difficult repair because my pt is supposed to start 2 days post surgery. I'll go for Pre Op tomorrow, so I'll ask the dr. there if he knows.

Sweat pants in Texas at this time of year are out of the question, but maybe just some elastic waist ones would work as well.

 
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:03 PM   #6
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Re: May 6 Shoulder Replacement Surgery

I would ask, for sure. You should know about hospital stay, and expectations for PT, medications, etc. Sorry about the sweats! Any elastic waist will work. I had such a hard time due to my unique situation that I was in jammies most of the time. No PT for me for a long time! Also forget bras. Most women use a loose camisole if you need one. My consolation prize for all my problems was a huge weight loss, so it was not an issue for me.

 
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:21 PM   #7
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Re: May 6 Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Ice is your friend! get an ice machine. Insurance won't pay for it, but you will need it.

#I found sleeping in a recliner very difficult. My husband was able to build an adjustable back support in our guest room, with a futon mattress over it. I probably slept there for at least six weeks. If this turns into rotator cuff repair surgery, Forget washing your hair by yourself for at least that long too. Get a shower head on a hose, WaterPik makes them, it'll make bathing so much easier.

I ended up wearing very large T-shirt over everything for the first couple of weeks.

Again, depending upon your surgery situation, my PT started the following week after surgery. Pain meds are a must at least for the first couple of visits, as they will be stretching things out. Not fun. Be diligent with your home exercise routines, and continued them after PT is over. It took me almost a year to be able to get my hand behind my back post surgery. If you have the option, find a PT facility that specializes in shoulders.

Good luck! And if your pain meds mess up your sleeping, and you still need them, get something else.

Last edited by WW2ER; 04-28-2013 at 06:22 PM.

 
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:45 AM   #8
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Re: May 6 Shoulder Replacement Surgery

I went for my pre-op on Monday and just as I was getting out of the car at my house, it hit me! Some kind of vicious bug and I have been sick ever since. Very weak, vomiting and diarhheah, headache, and fever. No fever this morning and I feel better, though not completely well.

Thanks for all the suggestions and help. I'm sure I'll manage somehow. I can't afford to buy an ice machine, though, and I wouldn't have anywhere to put it, either.

I had so many things to do this week, but that's just not happening. You know, the world won't stop turning because of that. Have a great day, all!

 
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:52 AM   #9
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Re: May 6 Shoulder Replacement Surgery

The ice machines are no bigger than a small beer cooler, like for a six pack. I got one along with my replacements, so have 2 of them. Gel packs work just as well. Have 2 or 3 so one is always frozen. 9 bucks or so at walmart.

Tell them at the hospital about your illness!!!!!

 
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